This College Football Week 0 contest opened Vanderbilt -7 in early summer, and there has been movement toward the favorite on oddsboards since. While 6.5s have flashed at some sportsbooks, the point spread sits in the -7.5 to -8.5 range of this Thursday update. Nabbing Hawaii +7 or better is the prudent action for backers of the Rainbow Warriors. Totals have been bet down from 55 to 53.5 or 54.
Vandy vs. Hawaii Odds, College Football Week 0
NCAAF · Sat (8/27) @ 10:38pm ET
|Aloha Stadium, Halawa, Hawaii|
This is like a bowl game the Commodores don’t deserve. Cutting right to the chase, they’ve gone 2-17 on the road over the past four seasons, 7-33 away from home over the previous eight years.
This program deserves to be favored away from Tennessee against nobody, and we include Connecticut (which Vandy beat by only two points last season at home) and Massachusetts.
A set of power ratings we value highly gives the Commodores just a half-point edge, mixing in a Hawaii home-field advantage of 2.5 points. So that gives this play 6.5 points of exceptional value.
Clark Lea once walked onto the Vandy program as a fullback, and he assisted at Syracuse and Notre Dame before taking over his alma mater a year ago, finishing 2-10.
Foes accumulated 158 more yards per game than the Commodores in 2021, an atrocious imbalance that was greater at only two schools, Wyoming (161) and Colorado (173).
In addition, Vandy’s 18.4 yards-per-point rate last season was bottom 10 in the nation, in ’20 that was the third-worst figure (at 22.3) in college football, and in ’19 that was 19.8, fourth from the bottom in the country.
In his preview annual, Phil Steele projects Vandy to have a bottom-five national pass defense, scoring defense, and total defense.
There aren’t many highlights. At quarterback, Mike Wright is the better runner, Ken Seals the better passer. They added guys who played at Clemson and West Virginia, even Joseph Bulovas once kicked at Alabama.
So what? The pattern at Vandy — which has lost its previous 21 games in the Southeastern Conference — is not good and only figures to continue.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Timothy Kealii’okaaina Awa Chang — just call him Timmy — returned home in January after Todd Graham’s highly pressured resignation.
The former Hawaii quarterback made scoreboards explode, throwing for 17,072 yards; only Houston’s Case Keenum (19,217 yards) collected more aerial yards in FBS history.
Chang had been assisting at Nevada, so his familiarity with the Mountain West Conference will be vital for the league slate.
Even bigger, Chang brings immeasurable passion and pride, for the program and state of Hawaii, that could provide the Warriors with a magnificent X-factor. Local many-star standouts will want to play for Mr. Chang.
The condemning of Aloha Stadium, which still needs to be demolished, forced Hawaii last season into its quaint on-campus facility. Ground-breaking for a new stadium is set for next year, with an opening eyeballed for the 2026 season.
Any foe taking these Warriors lightly with so few fans in the sparse stands, however, will be in for a surprise, says Jeff Reinebold, the team’s director of player development.
“I cannot wait for that moment when we come out into that stadium,” he recently told the Tennesseean. “I know there’s going to be 9,300 people there, but I will bet you that the energy is going to be like there’s 90,000 in that stadium.
“This is a special place. Vanderbilt has no idea what they’re getting into.”
A year ago, Hawaii averaged a mere 46 yards on the ground. In the country, only Western Kentucky (41) ran for fewer yards per game — which sets up a high-flying duel here Sept. 3 when the Hilltoppers visit Oahu.
Dedrick Parson, a former FCS tailback at Howard, is the incumbent leader of an inexperienced group of runners. He needs to set the tone against Vandy, and recent reports of outstanding practices by Hawaii’s linemen will boost that effort.
Former Washington State quarterback Cammon Cooper must also like what he’s seen in the big guys up front lately. Look for him to target 6-foot-4 tight end Jordan Murray, a senior transfer from Missouri State, early and often against Vandy’s multi-sieve defense.
Inside the Ching Complex in ’21, the Warriors did ring up 535 yards of total offense against Colorado State, 482 against New Mexico State and 573 vs. Portland State.
If Reinebold is accurate, and 9,000 fans sound like 90,000, this will be an entertaining affair and worth viewing on CBS Sports Network.
As the last of 11 Saturday games, and without an early Sunday-morning kickoff Eastern time, this isn’t a typical late-night Hawaii get-out special. But college football is finally back, so we’ll enjoy every play just the same.
Especially this nightcap.
Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii Betting Pick
We are all over the Rainbow Warriors getting a full 7 points on their own turf. To be safe, however, for the first couple of weeks, we also recommend half-unit risks.
That will safe-guard against surprises, wild finishes, and the emergence out of nowhere of a superstar who suddenly busts loose for 250 rushing yards, or catches a dozen passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
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